Poster A82, Saturday, March 24, 1:30–3:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Measuring Prefrontal Functional Connectivity Development in Preschool-aged Children Using fNIRS
Jaeah Kim1, Alexander Rüsch1, Jana M. Kainerstorfer1, Erik D. Thiessen1, Anna V. Fisher1; 1Carnegie Mellon University
Brain function is crucially tied to the organization of networks of regions that collaboratively process information and regulate behavior, called functional networks. Study of functional networks is often based on analyzing resting state functional connectivity (rsFC). Some functional networks develop rapidly early on in infancy, while others show gradual and protracted development over decades into adulthood. While rsFC has been measured in adults, older children, and sleeping infants, it has been relatively rarely measured in young children, in whom significant development of certain networks (such as that supporting executive function) is expected, but with whom traditional neuroimaging methods (e.g., fMRI, EEG) and adult rsFC paradigms are difficult to employ. We previously developed and tested a paradigm, called NB-rsFC, combining functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and a novel task designed to approximate resting state in children. Compared to traditional rsFC, this paradigm allows movement and provides a minimum amount of engagement, such that young children can comply for extended measurement durations. In this study, we used NB-rsFC to measure rsFC in prefrontal cortex (PFC) longitudinally in 17 children aged 3-5, measured twice at each of 2 timepoints 2-4 month apart (4 scans total). Comparison of rsFC between timepoints 1 and 2 using a classification algorithm showed developmental differences between scans across timepoints, compared to scans within timepoints (permutation test, p < 0.05). In addition to further validating the sensitivity and feasibility of the NB-rsFC paradigm, these results suggest noticeable development of functional connectivity within PFC even in a short 3 month period.
Topic Area: METHODS: Other